Published by Thomas Nelson on May 26, 2020
Source: the publisher
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In this new Regency romance, Elizabeth knows she must protect her heart from the charm of her new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life.
When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission.
Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. There she is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murderer, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy.
Determined to keep her son’s true identity a secret, Elizabeth will need to remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless fiend bent on her new family’s ruin.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This one was such much fun!! I was excited to get the opportunity to read it because I love regency historical fiction and because this was an opportunity for me to read a new-to-me author’s work. Once I started it, I barely put it down.
The book opens up right in the action after Elizabeth Cantrell and her very young son Isaac have been in a carriage accident. The accident involved a masked highwayman, who ends up being Lord Adrian Torrington, looking to rob the carriage and its inhabitants. Interestingly, the robber was the one that rescued Elizabeth and Isaac. It turns out that he is a spy who was using thievery as a cover for part of his spy work (not a spoiler!). Adrian and Elizabeth decide that they will marry in order to maintain Adrian’s cover. Elizabeth is an unwed mother anyway, so a marriage should work to salvage her reputation and give her son chances in life that he would not otherwise have.
I love a good marriage-of-convenience story. I especially love it when the characters eventually fall in love. When Adrian brings his new bride to Middlecrest Abbey, it is a surprise to everyone there that they are married. I loved reading the thoughts of the staff and family that reside at the Abbey, because of course there is plenty of gossip. Even more, I love that Adrian and Elizabeth were fully committed to pretending to love one another while actually developing very real feelings. They both had some baggage from previous relationships that they brought into the marriage, but it was wonderful to read how they moved through these feelings of betrayal and formed a healthy relationship. In addition, Adrian is constantly surprised at how awesome Elizabeth is while Elizabeth learns that Adrian is much more than gossip made him out to be. Love, love, loved it!!
For some reason, I didn’t realize that there would be a full-on mystery in the story!! And by gosh, I loved it. While loads of people are gathered at the Abbey, someone dies and murder is suspected. So while the men investigate the death, of course, Elizabeth cannot stand not being involved and working to help solve the mystery. I LOVED reading about how she used disguises and secrecy to help Adrian in his quest to figure out who killed their guest.
This book is absolutely delightful. It reminds me of a Jane Austen story and with the added elements of suspense and mystery, it is just so much fun. There were a few times that I found myself heading to the internet to look up examples of the types of hats and other details mentioned on the pages (example: Adrian’s beaver hat-I didn’t realize that was the name of those hats!). The detailing and language she used was so good that I was able to easily visualize the setting and the actions of the story as they were happening, which is so important to me when I read.
I’m so, so excited to have found Abigail Wilson’s work. I’m not sure how I missed it before, but I’m thrilled to see that I have a couple of previously published books that I can read and that she has another work in progress. I would enthusiastically recommend this story to fans of Regency historical fiction with romance and fans of historical mysteries. This was such a GEM of a find for me!!